Were he still among the living, my father would have been celebrating his eighty-fifth birthday today. And were the thirty-seventh Potus still with us, he – Richard Milhous Nixon – would have been celebrating his ninety-seventh birthday. I had not previously realised that my Pa was exactly twelve years younger than Nixon. If I were a different kind of writer, I might make much of this, and embark upon a dazzling doublefold psychological study, of thousands and thousands of words. Of course, the result would say a lot more about me than it would about either my father or the late Potus. There would have to be an entire chapter about mashed potato. Nixon enjoyed the act of mashing, my father enjoyed eating the results. And would I find some mystic significance in the number twelve? These are deep waters indeed. What on earth would the twentieth century’s most pernicious brain-softener have made of them?